Amiri Baraka Fellows Program

Though best known as a poet and playwright, Newark native Amiri Baraka drew no lines between art and activism, between cultural criticism and political mobilization, between the life of the mind and the larger social and civic lives that he led. Leveraging his considerable critical and creative faculties, Baraka played central roles in transforming the course of protest and politics not only in Newark, but in the nation at large.

The Amiri Baraka Fellows Program at Rutgers University-Newark seeks a dedicated and interdisciplinary group of five students for its 2017-2018 inaugural class. Over the course of a nine-month academic year, the Baraka Fellows will attend a series of seminars through which they will learn about the challenges and possibilities of civic work in Newark and will design and execute a public project that leverages their unique skills and interests to promote the continued viability of local Newark communities. During the fall semester, Fellows will participate in biweekly seminars, each of which will explore a specific theme or topic with several special guests – both Rutgers faculty and local Newarkers – whose work speaks to those themes or topics. Over the course of the fall seminars and in collaboration with the special guests and seminar leaders, Fellows will begin designing a public project. During the spring semester, Fellows will then see their project idea to fruition. Meetings of the Fellows will focus on sharing and supporting each other in that process. The year will end with a special showcase event at which Fellows will present their project to the larger public.

Each Baraka Fellow will receive a $3,500 stipend, at least $500 of which will be dedicated to the planning and implementation of the public project.

The Amiri Baraka Fellows Program will foster new generations of scholars and artists dedicated to the perpetual work of building a more humane and just city. The Fellows will leverage their creative and intellectual skills to the transformation of local communities in Newark, breaching bulwarks that have traditionally separated academic and community-based work and helping RU-N fulfill its mission as a university dedicated to the anchoring of local communities, their cultural foundations, and their civic infrastructures.

The Baraka Fellows Program is organized by the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience and the Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark.


Applications are welcome from across Rutgers University-Newark, regardless of major and discipline.

  • Undergraduate students: rising juniors and seniors (i.e., apply during your sophomore or junior year)
  • Graduate students: masters students and precandidacy doctoral students (i.e., fulltime students will apply during your first year; it will vary for part-time students)

Application Process

The application package consists of four elements:

  • An online application form:
  • A personal statement (no more than 1,500 words) making a case for your suitability for the Baraka Fellows Program. Please include details of your academic and/or creative activities, as well as any prior experience in community-engaged work. Please explain why you are interested in being a Baraka Fellow.
  • A current resume or cv
  • At least one – but no more than two - letters of recommendation from people familiar with your academic, creative, and/or civic achievements

Please Note: The personal statement, resume/cv, and recommendation letters should be sent to Laura Troiano at:

A small selection committee will be comprised of RU-N faculty and representatives from the Baraka family. Members of the committee will review all applications and conduct in-person interviews with finalists. The following factors will be considered in our examination of applicants:

  • Demonstrated dedication to work outside campus boundaries, in local neighborhoods and communities
  • Academic and/or artistic achievement
  • Oral and written communication proficiency